The Night Cafe @ o2 Institute, 30 September 2018

What exactly does teen spirit smell like? I would venture to claim that if Nirvana were still alive they would say that teen spirit smells like a gig from The Night Cafe. An elixir of sweat and teen enthusiasm, of slightly stale beer and youthful dreams, that is what smells like teen spirit. With boundless energy and gleeful enthusiasm fans danced in transcendent circles, bounding together in little pools like waves lapping a rocky beach shore, all in response to what was spewing from the stage. The Night Café took to the O2 Institute on a cool Sunday night, transforming a blasé evening into a night not easily forgotten.

Hailing from Liverpool, the indie rock group recover from an intense festival season by hopping on a headlining tour, perhaps a little preparation for their 2019 tour opening for The Wombats. Mixing lucid indie electronic with midtempo rock The Night Café craft exquisite sounds, clearly attracting a ferociously dedicated following. After a trio of openers The Night Café launched into their set, opening with melo punk rock ‘Forget It All.’ In an almost immediate response their fans were up and mashing about, a release of teenage angst that synchronized with the beat, a scene that would come to typify as each song built.

‘The Way of Mary’ and instrumentally luminous ‘Strange Clothes’ collided together, a freeflow of sound that swirled around the room. Under a purple haze ‘Felicity’ broke through; in many of their songs The Night Café brilliantly balances heavy rock riffs with instrumental breaks, giving their songs an almost moving breath and heartbeat. Each tune meticulously wafts over the audience creating a trance like state. Mid tempo ‘Let Me In’ is followed by ‘Endless Lover,’ a song from their next release. Punchy punk ‘Addicted’ is a clear fan favourite with fans singing along with the tidal wave of sound. Easy rock ‘I’m Fine’ is followed by set closer ‘Mixed Signals.’ A short encore followed, with The Night Café playing anthematic ‘Turn’ and obvious favourite ‘You Change with the Seasons.’

While The Night Cafe may gear towards a younger crowd, their music does not lack a certain depth or passion often affiliated with a juvenile sound. With precise instrumental space cut between indie rock riffs there is a certain presence and poignancy crafted by the band. Centred in a whirlpool of enthusiasm they have been able to capture this youthful exuberance, creating a riveting and electric show. At the O2 Institute The Night Café ripped a hole in time, delivering a standout performance that captured an exquisite moment in life.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

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